Fancy New Gas Ranges

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Joined Dec 9, 2017
I am having problems with the newer gas ranges. The burners seem overly large in diameter, and the grates are way high above the flame. Now I have some reference here as I am in my 60's and I remember my grandmother's house, where I grew up, had an old Hotpoint gas range.

My problems are when using a standard 6 or 7" cook pan for rice or oatmeal on a medium 3" burner, the sides scorch before the middle even comes close to boiling. If I go to the small 2.5" burner it takes forever to get a simmer. But if I remove the grate on the small burner and have the pan just touching the flame, it will get a roiling boil.

A 10" cast iron skillet on the large burner gives similar problems with pancakes, bacon, and 3 eggs will over cook on the edges while the yolks in the middle are still under cooked.

I've adapted by keeping the cookware moving while I'm cooking. But all in all it seems to me a TREMENDOUS waste of energy. It seems to take so long to get cookware hot enough regardless which size of burner/cookware being used. I live in the country and use propane. Yes the range is calibrated for it. The flames are strong, blue, with barely a tint of orange so I know the air/fuel mix is correct.

I remember cooking on my grandmother's range was quicker, not this difficult, and I had a much easier time with food cooked through and through evenly. One thing I remember is the cookware was a bit closer to the flame, and there were X shaped burners on one model and smaller round burners on the one that replaced it. It was a full kitchen range, we did family get togethers and holiday cooking with it.

I am wondering if range technology has changed. I would like to hear other's experiences good or not or maybe what I need to do different. Heck, I have a better time with my old Coleman fuel Coleman stove :) Thanks
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
It's all in the design.

I'm having problems with my gas range also. My old one had really weak flames and took forever to heat anything, so when I bought a new one, I chose to have only the large burners. What a mistake. Now I can only cook using the largest pans.

To make things worse, I chose a super jet flame model, hoping to be able to stir-fry properly; now that's all I can do with it. Everything else burns within minutes even at the lowest heat setting. I can't sear steaks without them turning black. Even the heat diffusers I bought are unable to tame my flames.

Now I have to cook most of the food on my electric range and save the gas one only for stir-frying.
 
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Joined Nov 28, 2017
My first gas cooktop was a Kitchenaide glass top with sealed burners. Right off I could not cook rice correctly - not a low enough simmer flame for after I got the water boiling. I called the Kitchenaide customer service # and got directed to make sure my unit had the correct orifice for propane (it did) and questioned about my pan usage. Nothing told to me helped rice to simmer. After a few more phone calls, I ended up talking to a more knowledgeable rep and found out - 1) this unit was more designed for LOOKS than all around cooking and 2) the lowest flame allowed was higher than simmer because otherwise the sensor to re-ignite would constantly click on. The solution - for that stove - ended up being the rep ordered and sent me 2 'diffuser' cast iron plates that spread the low flame to create simmer levels.

When we moved from that house I got more serious about checking out gas stoves for my next kitchen. This was circa 2000 and gas stoves were popping up like mushrooms. Wolfe stoves had been the 'standard' but still too commercial oriented. Viking made a more elegant 'commercial' grade stove with lovely bells and whistles but a price tag that burnt worst than the burners! And the clincher for me was that we live off grid (solar stand alone system) so power consumption is an important criteria. It turns out that the politically correct way to light a gas oven is with a 'glow bar' - which I joke was taken right off the shelves of Peterbilt diesel parts. That glow bar uses 600 watts of electricity to ignite gas. That's more electricity than a lit house at night with dishwasher running and big screen TV on too. But oh no, that little piezo electric spark igniter which uses milliamps of electricity isn't safe for an oven! OK for burners - which have NO sensor to tell if a flame is present, but horrors if an oven didn't have a CONSTANT hot glow bar to make sure that the gas ignited when oven temps needed to heat up again.

I had luck in finding a quasi-commercial type stove which - then - did offer spark igniter for burners AND oven. Been happy with it ever since though I would have loved a couple of the Viking's 'bells and whistles'.

Back to simmering. The stove I got has small inner burner flames that I can turn the knobs down to for a very low flame and achieve a simmer that works for what I need. The burners on this stove are 4" and 'over flame' my small 1 qt pot that has a 5" base. Even my 2 qt. pot with 6" base needs to be centered right and flames not too high. The grates also sit quite high above the burner but allowing good air flow for burning seems to occur.

I never could get that high (boiling/frying) temps on our coleman stove either :p.
 
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Joined Dec 9, 2017
Thank you Jain and Pat. I am not alone. I get the glow bar for safety. Presently I am using a new GE gas top range with electric oven. The only safety concern I have is the range has no proof of flame. You can turn the gas on "past" the ignitor position and theoretically fill the house with gas as it takes a second or two for the spark ignitor to establish a flame if you wait for it. The older Dacor we used had an ignitor that also functioned as flame rectification, so if the flame went out with the knob still on it would immediately commence to sparking again. The GE does have a nice simmer feature with an inner ring in the 4.5" burner which does rice and other simmered dishes perfectly. I guess I don't understand the burners and grate height.
 
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Joined Nov 28, 2017
Greg, my current range (a FiveStar) has burner lighting like your GE which one does have to get used to if you have had the auto re-light type before. However that auto re clicking could get annoying when it did that with a very low flame. Cooking with gas rather implies a mindful cook who is being observant IMHO. Though the exposure of a very low flame to wind 'gusts' (open window/door, swift brush by of cook) might be able to blow out a flame? There is a mini-pilot light at the base of the burners on my stove that probably serves as check against flame extinguishing for me.
 
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Joined Nov 28, 2017
[/QUOTE] I guess I don't understand the burners and grate height.[/QUOTE]
Greg, something that occurred to me as I just used my gas stove that also has grates raised above the surface level of the cook top is - how due to propane being the not designed for fuel, the knobs with Hi Med Low don't really indicate flame level well at all. I usually look at the actual flame to gauge what temperature I want to cook with. If the grates were lower, that would be harder to do without lifting the pot/pan up to see flame height.
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
You should always look at the flame, not the knob position. Propane or NG shouldn't make any difference as long as your range is converted for use with one or the other.

As to your comments in general, much has been written here about ranges. There is a lot about the "prosumer" ones and how they are over priced and made for looks, not for actual cooking, as well as the problems they have. There is also a lot of somewhat wishful thinking about using a commercial range in a residential setting due to their low price and being built like a tank.

I recently posted about my experience with purchasing a consumer gas range to replace my old glass top electric (which I hated with a passion) in my home. The GE range I bought was selected for the heavy continuous cast iron grate. But after I got it working I was disappointed by the burners. It of course has sealed burners, but every one is of a different size. The largest takes almost a half an hour to boil a gallon of water and the next one down can barely maintain a rolling boil- not good when you have multiple types of pasta going. As you noted (and like all consumer range burners) they have a ring of flame with nothing in the middle which heats the pot from the sides. I believe that's what causes the inefficiency.

As to those puny burners, I believe it's all because of our litigious society and manufacturers wanting to protect themselves from people who will blame them for every little problem that happens to themselves or their kids. There was probably some kind of research that indicated that low BTUs and slow heating burners was safer for the Snowflakes.
 
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Joined Dec 9, 2017
I did some checking around and found a good bit of information on burner sizing, distances, etc. The stove I am using now has 5 burners. 2 large at 11,000 btu and 15, 000 btu in the front. A 5,000 btu and a 9,100 btu in the back, plus an 8,000 btu rectangular burner in the middle. So this baby can do roaster pans, pressure cookers, and juicers with ease on any large burner, and still have scope for smaller heats such as for oysters and sauté's. I've found there's quite a bit of engineering that goes into burner design. I found an old book from the Bureau of Standards dated 1932 on optimum gas burner design for domestic use on range top burners. My beef with burner height was ill-informed. There is a distinct ratio of distance between the gas flame and cooking utensil to produce the least CO or carbon monoxide, or in other words, complete combustion and cooking efficiency has trade offs on one another. I checked my burners at night with a large pan. Sure enough, the large burner flames just barely touch the pan, ok. The small 5,000 btu burner had a distance of about 1" to 1 1/4". Not bad, but not the best cooking efficiency and probably why I couldn't boil water past a simmer. So all in all the grate height is a compromise. My next solution is to just get wider pans. I love cooking with gas, but it's kinda hard going shopping with a dragster if you get what I mean. :) Yes, I do understand about gas flames and dial numbers are arbitrary. On a second note, the book did mention that THE MOST EFFICIENT burner tested for combustion and cooking was a star shaped burner. They're what I remember the old ranges had and what many large professional kitchen ranges still use.
 
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... the book did mention that THE MOST EFFICIENT burner tested for combustion and cooking was a star shaped burner. They're what I remember the old ranges had and what many large professional kitchen ranges still use.

I guess they don't build them today for serious cooking.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
I looked far and wide for a range with star-shaped burners when I was shopping for the new one. Alas, I did not find it.
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
You have to go to "prosumer" ranges with, of course a huge price increase. Star burners are BlueStar's claim to fame for instance.
 
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